Eneco Tour: Sir Bradley Wiggins dropped as Mark Renshaw claims surprise solo victory
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: August 14, 2013 4:00pm
Sir Bradley Wiggins was distanced by the peloton around 12km out
Sir Bradley Wiggins was dropped by the peloton on the opening stage of the Eneco Tour as Mark Renshaw claimed the race lead by soloing to a surprise victory in Belgium.
Wiggins was distanced around 12km from the line after Orica-GreenEDGE ramped up the pace at the front of the pack and forced a split.
The Team Sky leader did not look overly concerned, though, and ambled into the finish in a group three minutes 50 seconds behind Renshaw.
The Australian, who will join Mark Cavendish's Omega Pharma - Quick-Step team at the end of the season, made an unexpected escape just over 1km out on a technical finish in Ardooie and hung on to win by two seconds.
Belkin stun rivals
His Belkin team-mates were on the front of the peloton going into a narrow left-hand turn and slowed the pace down sufficiently enough to allow Renshaw to break clear and open out a decisive gap.
Due to bonus seconds, he now leads the general classification by six seconds from Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), who sprinted to second on the stage.
The 175.3km day was flat other than one climb at mid-distance and a three-man breakaway was allowed to go clear and build up a maximum gap of more than eight minutes.
The trio - Laurens de Vreese (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise), Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise) and Benjamin Verraes (Accent.jobs - Wanty) - were eventually caught by the Orica-GreenEDGE-led peloton 15km from the finish.
The Australian team continued to set a fierce pace that soon saw the pack strung out in a long line and an inevitable split followed.
Wiggins, who had ridden most of the stage towards the back of the peloton, was caught on the wrong side and, with the stage five time trial his main priority for the race, he did not give chase.
Up ahead, the sprint teams of Greipel, Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) and Arnaud Demare (FDJ) were all caught out by Belkin's shock tactics, but Greipel recovered to finish as the runner-up, with Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Leopard) taking third.
Stage one result
1 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Belkin, 4:01:14
2 Andre Greipel (Bel) Lotto-Belisol, +2secs
3 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Leopard, same time
4 Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida, st
5 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale, st
6 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC, st
7 Michael van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise, st
8 Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
9 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
10 Ruslan Tluebayev (Kaz) Astana, st
163 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, +3:50
1 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Belkin, 4:01:04
2 Andre Greipel (Bel) Lotto-Belisol, +6secs
3 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise, +7
4 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Leopard, +8
5 Benjamin Verraes (Bel) Accent.jobs - Wanty, same time
6 Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin, +9
7 Laurens de Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise, st
8 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC, +10
9 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale, +11
10 Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida, +12
163 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, +4:00